Henry Scadding.

Toronto of old; collections and recollections illustrative of the early settlement and social life of the capital of Ontario online

. (page 45 of 59)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

interest and charm; by means, for one thing, of the variety of character
encountered. A man might vegetate long in an obscure village or country
town of the old mother country before he rubbed against a person of V.
P. Mayerhoffer's singular experience, and having his wits set in motion
by a sympathetic realization of such a career as his.

He was a Hungarian; born at Raab in 1784; and had been ordained a
presbyter in the National Church of Austria. On emigrating to the United
States, he, being himself a Franciscan, fell into some disputes with the
Jesuits at Philadelphia, and withdrew from the Latin communion and
attached himself, in company with a fellow presbyter named Huber, to the
Lutheran Reformed. As a recognized minister of that body he came on to
Buffalo, where he officiated for four years to three congregations,
visiting at the same time, occasionally, a congregation on the Canada
side of the river, at Limeridge. He here, for the first time, began the
study of the English language. Coming now into contact with the clergy
of the Anglican communion, he finally resolved to conform to the
Anglican Church, and was sent by Bishop Stewart, of Quebec, to the
German settlement in Markham and Vaughan. Here he officiated for twenty
years, building in that interval St. Stephen's Church in Vaughan, St.
Philip's in the 3rd concession of Markham, and the Church in Markham
village, and establishing a permanent congregation at each.

He was a vigorous, stirring preacher in his acquired English tongue, as
well as in his vernacular German. He possessed also a colloquial
knowledge of Latin, which is still a spoken language in part of Hungary.
He was a man of energy to the last: ever cheerful in spirit, and
abounding in anecdotes, personal or otherwise. It was from him, as we
remember, we first heard the afterwards more familiarized names of
Magyar and Sclave.

His brother clergy of the region where his duty lay were indebted to him
for many curious glimpses at men and things in the great outer world of
the continent of Europe. During the Napoleonic wars he was "Field
Chaplain of the Imperial Infantry Regiment, No. 60 of the Line," and
accompanied the Austrian contingent of 40,000 men furnished to Napoleon
by the Emperor of Austria. - He was afterwards, when the Austrian Emperor
broke away from Napoleon, taken prisoner with five regiments of the
line, and sent to Dresden and Mayence. He was at the latter place when
the battle of Leipsic was fought (Oct. 16, 17, 18, 19, 1813.) He now
left Mayence without leave, the plague breaking out there, and got to
Oppenheim, where a German presbyter named Muller concealed him, till the
departure of the French out of the town. After several adventures he
found his way back to the quarters of his regiment now acting in the
anti-French interest at Manheim, where he duly reported himself, and was
well received. After the war, from the year 1816, he had for three years
the pastoral charge of Klingenmunster in the diocese of Strasbourg. He
died in Whitby, in 1859.

A memoir of Mr. Meyerhoffer has been printed, and it bears the following
title: "Twelve years a Roman Catholic Priest; or, the Autobiography of
the Rev. V. P. Meyerhoffer, M.A., late Military Chaplain to the Austrian
Army and Grand Chaplain of the Orders of Free Masons and Orangemen of
Canada, B.N.A., containing an account of his career as Military
Chaplain, Monk of the Order of St. Francis, and Clergyman of the Church
of England in Vaughan, Markham and Whitby, C.W."

He had a musical voice which had been properly cultivated - This, he used
to say, was a source of revenue to him in the early part of his public
career, those clergy being in request and receiving a higher
remuneration, who were able to sing the service in a superior manner.
His features were strongly marked and peculiar, perhaps Mongolian in
type; they were not German, English, or Italian. Were the concavity of
the nose and the projection of the mouth a little more pronounced in
"Elias Howe," the medallions of that personage would give a general idea
of Mr. Mayerhoffer's profile and head.

In his younger days he had acquired some medical knowledge, which stood
him in good stead for a time at Philadelphia, when he and Huber first
renounced the Latin dogmas. His taste for the healing art was slightly
indulged even after the removal to Canada, as will be seen from an
advertisement which appears in the _Courier_ of February 29, 1832. (From
its wording it will be observed that Mayerhoffer had not yet become
familiarized with the English language.) It is headed thus: "The use and
direction of the new-invented and never-failing Wonder Salve, by D. V.
P. Mayerhoffer, of Markham, U.C., H.D., 5th concession."

It then proceeds: "Amongst all in the medicine-invented unguents his
salve takes the first place for remedy, whereby it not in vain obtains
the name of Wonder Salve for experience taught in many cases to deserve
this name; and being urged to communicate it to the public, I endeavour
to satisfy to the common good of the public. It is acknowledged by all
who know the virtue of it, and experienced its worth, it ought to be
kept in every house, first for its inestimable goodness, and, second,
because the medicine the older it gets the better it is: money spent for
such will shew its effect from its beginning for twenty years, if kept
in a dry place, well covered. In all instances of burns, old wounds,
called running sores, for the tetter-worm or ring, &c., as the
discussions and use will declare, wrapped round the box or the medicine.

"It is unnecessary to recommend by words this inestimable medicine, as
its value has received the approbation of many inhabitants of this
country already, who sign their names below for the surety of its virtue
and the reality of its worth, declaring that they never wish to be
without it in their houses by their lifetimes. In Markham, Mr. Philip
Eckhardt, jun., do. do., sen., Godlieb Eckhardt, Abraham Eckhardt, John
Pingel, jun., Mr. Lang, Mr. Large, John Perkins, John Schall, Charles
Peterson, Luke Stantenkough, Peter March. In Vaughan, Jacob Fritcher,
Daniel Stang. Recommended by Dr. Baldwin, of York. The medicine is to be
had in the eighth concession of Markham, called Riarstown, by Sinclair
Holden; in the fifth concession by Christopher Hevelin and T. Amos; in
the town of York, in J. Baldwin's and S. Barnham's stores; on Yonge
Street, by Parsons and Thorne. Price of a box, two shillings and
sixpence, currency. January 11, 1832."

Military associations hang about the lands to the right and left of
Richmond Hill. The original possessor of Lot No. 22 on the west side,
was Captain Daniel Cozens, a gentleman who took a very active part in
opposition to the revolutionary movement which resulted in the
independence of the United States. He raised, at his own expense, a
company of native soldiers in the royalist interest, and suffered the
confiscation of a considerable estate in New Jersey. Three thousand
acres in Upper Canada were subsequently granted him by the British
Crown. His sons, Daniel and Shivers, also received grants. The name of
Shivers Cozens is to be seen in the early plans of Markham on lots 2, 4
and 5 in the 6th concession.

Samuel died of a fit at York in 1808; but Shivers returned to New Jersey
and died there, where family connexions of Captain Cozens still survive.
There runs amongst them a tradition that Captain Cozens built the first
house in our Canadian York. Of this we are informed by Mr. T. Cottrill
Clarke, of Philadelphia. We observe in an early plan of York the name of
Shivers Cozens on No. 23 in Block E, on the south side of King Street:
the name of Benjamin Cozens on No. 5 on Market Street: and the name of
Captain Daniel Cozens on No. 4 King Street, (new town), north side, with
the date of the grant, July 20, 1799. It is thus quite likely that
Captain Cozens, or a member of his family, put up buildings in York at a
very early period.

We read in the Niagara _Herald_, of October 31, 1801, the following:
"Died on the 6th ult., near Philadelphia, Captain Daniel Cozens." In the
_Gazette & Oracle_, of January 27, 1808, we have a memorandum of the
decease of Samuel Cozens: "Departed this life, on the 29th ult., Mr.
Samuel D. Cozens, one of the first inhabitants of this town [York]. His
remains were interred with Masonic honours on the 31st."

Another officer of the Revolutionary era was the first owner, and for
several years the actual occupant, of the lot immediately opposite
Captain Cozens'. This was Captain Richard Lippincott, a native of New
Jersey. A bold deed of his has found a record in all the histories of
the period. The narrative gives us a glimpse of some of the painful
scenes attendant on wars wherein near relatives and old friends come to
be set in array one against the other.

On the 12th of April, 1782, Captain Lippincott, acting under the
authority of the "Board of Associated Loyalists of New York," executed
by hanging, on the heights near Middleton, Joshua Huddy, an officer in
the revolutionary army, as an act of retaliation, - Huddy having
summarily treated, in the same way, a relative of Captain Lippincott's,
Philip White, surprised within the lines of the revolutionary force,
while on a stolen visit of natural affection to his mother on Christmas
Day.

On Huddy's breast was fastened a paper containing the following written
notice, to be read by his co-revolutionists and friends when they should
discover the body suspended in the air. - "We, the Refugees, having long
with grief beheld the cruel murders of our brethren, and finding nothing
but such measures carrying into execution, therefore determined not to
suffer without taking vengeance for the numerous cruelties; and thus
begin, having made use of Captain Huddy as the first object to present
to your view; and further determine to hang man for man while there is a
Refugee existing. Up goes Huddy for Philip White."

When the surrender of Capt. Lippincott was refused by the Royalist
authorities, Washington ordered the execution of one officer of equal
rank to be selected by lot out of the prisoners in his hands. The lot
fell on Capt. Charles Asgill of the Guards, aged only nineteen. He was
respited however until the issue of a court-martial, promised to be held
on Capt. Lippincott, should be known. The court acquitted; and Capt.
Asgill only narrowly escaped the fate of André, through prompt
intervention on the part of the French Government. The French minister
of State, the Count de Vergennes, to whom there had been time for Lady
Asgill, the Captain's mother, to appeal - received directions to ask his
release in the conjoint names of the King and Queen as "a tribute to
humanity." Washington thought proper to accede to this request; but it
was not until the following year, when the revolutionary struggle ended,
that Asgill and Lippincott were set at liberty.

The former lived to succeed to his father's baronetcy and to become a
General officer. Colonel O'Hara, of Toronto, remembered dining at a
table where a General Sir Charles Asgill was pointed out to him as
having been, during the American revolutionary war, for a year under
sentence of death, condemned by General Washington to be hanged in the
place of another person.

Capt. Lippincott received from the Crown three thousand acres in Upper
Canada. He survived until the year 1826, when, aged 81, and after
enjoying half-pay for a period of forty-three years, he expired at the
house of his son-in-law in York, Colonel George Taylor Denison, who gave
to his own eldest son, Richard Lippincott Denison, Captain Lippincott's
name. (A few miles further on, namely, in North and East Gwillimbury,
General Benedict Arnold, known among United States citizens as "the
traitor," received a grant of five thousand acres.)

In connexion with Richmond Hill, which now partially covers the fronts
of Captain Cozens' and Captain Lippincott's lots, we subjoin what
Captain Bonnycastle said of the condition of Yonge Street hereabout in
1846, in his "Canada and the Canadians."

"Behold us at Richmond Hill," he exclaims, "having safely passed the
Slough of Despond which the vaunted Yonge Street mud road presents
between the celebrated hamlet of St. Albans and the aforesaid hill."

And again: "We reached Richmond Hill, seventeen miles from the Landing,
at about 8 o'clock (he was moving southward) having made a better day's
journey than is usually accomplished on a road which will be macadamized
some fine day; - for the Board of Works," he proceeds to inform the
reader, "have a Polish engineer hard at work surveying it; of course, no
Canadian was to be found equal to this intricate piece of engineering;
and I saw a variety of sticks stuck up; but what they meant I cannot
guess at. I suppose they were going to grade it, which is the favourite
American term."

The prejudices of the Englishman and Royal Engineer routinier here crop
out. The Polish engineer, who was commencing operations on this
subdivision of Yonge Street, was Mr. Casimir Stanislaus Gzowski, whose
subsequent Canadian career renders it probable that in setting up "the
variety of sticks," the meaning of which Capt. Bonnycastle does after
all guess at, he understood his business. We are assured that this
portion of Yonge Street was in fact conspicuous for the superior
excellence of its finish.

Captain Bonnycastle indulges in a further little fling at civilians who
presume to undertake engineering duties, in a story which serves to fill
a page or two of his book, immediately after the above remarks on Yonge
Street, about Richmond Hill. He narrates an incident of his voyage
out: -

"A Character," he says, "set out from England to try his fortune in
Canada. He was conversing about prospects in that country, on board the
vessel, with a person who knew him, but whom he knew not. 'I have not
quite made up my mind,' said the character, 'as to what pursuit I shall
follow in Canada; but that which brings most grist to the mill will
answer best; and I hear a man may turn his hand to anything there,
without the folly of an apprenticeship being necessary; for if he have
only brains, bread will come; now what do you think would be the best
business for my market?' 'Why,' said the gentleman, after pondering a
little, 'I should advise you to try civil engineering; for they are
getting up a Board of Works there, and want that branch of industry very
much, for they won't take natives: nothing but foreigners and strangers
will go down.' 'What is a civil engineer?' said the Character. 'A man
always measuring and calculating,' responded his adviser, 'and that will
just suit you.' 'So it will,' rejoined Character, and a civil engineer
he became accordingly, and a very good one into the bargain, for he had
brains, and had used a yard measure all his lifetime." - Who "the
Character" was, we do not for certain know.

A short distance beyond Richmond Hill was the abode of Colonel Moodie,
on the right, - distinguished by a flag-staff in front of it, after the
custom of Lower Canada, where an officer's house used to be known in
this way. (In the neighbourhood of Sorel, as we remember, in the winter
of 1837, it was one of the symptoms of disaffection come to a head, when
in front of a substantial habitan's home a flag-staff was suddenly seen
bearing the inscription " - - , Capitaine, élu par le peuple.")

Colonel Moodie's title came from his rank in the regular army. He had
been Lieut.-Colonel of the 104th regiment. Sad, that a distinguished
officer, after escaping the perils of the Peninsular war, and of the war
with the United States here in 1812-13, should have yet, nevertheless,
met with a violent death in a petty local civil tumult. He was shot, as
all remember, in the troubles of 1837, while attempting to ride past
Montgomery's, regardless of the insurgent challenge to stop.

"Thou might'st have dreamed of brighter hours to close thy chequered life
Beneath thy country's victor-flag, sure beacon in the strife;
Or in the shadow of thy home with those who mourn thee now,
To whisper comfort in thine ear, to calm thine aged brow.
Well! peaceful be thy changeless rest, - thine is a soldier's grave;
Hearts like thine own shall mourn thy doom - meet requiem for the brave -
And ne'er 'till Freedom's ray is pale and Valour's pulse grown cold
Shall be thy bright career forgot, thy gloomy fate untold."

So sang one in the columns of a local contemporary paper, in "Lines
suggested by the Lamented Death of the late Colonel Moodie."

At a certain period in the history of Yonge Street, as indeed of all the
leading thoroughfares of Upper Canada, about 1830-33, a frequent sign
that property had changed hands, and that a second wave of population
was rolling in, was the springing up, at intervals, of houses of an
improved style, with surroundings, lawns, sheltering plantations,
winding drives, well-constructed entrance-gates, and so on, indicating
an appreciation of the elegant and the comfortable.

We recall two instances of this, which we used to contemplate with
particular interest, a little way beyond Richmond Hill, on the left: the
cosy, English-looking residences, not far apart, with a cluster of
appurtenances round each - of Mr. Larratt Smith, and Mr. Francis Boyd.
Both gentlemen settled here with their families in 1836.

Mr. Smith had been previously in Canada in a military capacity during
the war of 1812-13, and for many years subsequently he had been Chief
Commissary of the Field Train Department and Paymaster of the Artillery.
He died at Southampton in 1860.

Mr. Boyd, who emigrated hither from the county of Kent, was one of the
first, in these parts, to import from England improved breeds of cattle.
In his house was to be seen a collection of really fine paintings,
amongst them a Holbein, a Teniers, a Dominichino, a Smirke, a Wilkie,
and two Horace Vernets. The families of Mr. Boyd and Mr. Smith were
related by marriage. Mr. Boyd died in Toronto in 1861.

Beyond Mr. Boyd's, a solitary house, on the same side of Yonge Street,
lying back near the woods, used to be eyed askance in passing: - its
occupant and proprietor, Mr. Kinnear, had in 1843 been murdered therein
by his man-servant, assisted by a female domestic. It was imagined by
them that a considerable sum of money had just been brought to the house
by Mr. Kinnear. Both criminals would probably have escaped justice had
not Mr. F. C. Capreol, of Toronto, on the spur of the moment, and purely
from a sense of duty to the public, undertaken their capture, which he
cleverly effected at Lewiston in the United States.

The land now began to be somewhat broken as we ascended the rough and
long-uncultivated region known as the Oak Ridges. The predominant tree
in the primitive forest here was the pine, which attained a gigantic
size; but specimens of the black oak were intermingled.

Down in one of the numerous clefts and chasms which were to be seen in
this locality, in a woody dell on the right, was Bond's Lake, a pretty
crescent-shaped sheet of water. We have the surrounding property offered
for sale in a _Gazette_ of 1805, in the following terms; "For Sale, Lots
No. 62 and 63, in the first concession of the township of Whitchurch, on
the east side of Yonge Street, containing 380 acres of land: a deed in
fee simple will be given by the subscriber to any person inclined to
purchase. Johnson Butler. N.B. The above lots include the whole of the
Pond commonly called Bond's Lake, the house and clearing round the same.
For particulars enquire of Mr. R. Ferguson and Mr. T. B. Gough at York,
and the subscriber at Niagara. March 23, 1805."

Bond's farm and lake had their name from Mr. William Bond, who so early
as 1800 had established in York a Nursery Garden, and introduced there
most of the useful fruits. In 1801 Mr. Bond was devising to sell his
York property, as appears from a quaint advertisement in a _Gazette_ of
that year. He therein professes to offer his lot in York as a free gift;
the recipient however being at the same time required to do certain
things.

"To be given away," he says, "that beautifully situated lot No. one,
fronting on Ontario and Duchess Streets: the buildings thereon are - a
small two-and-a-half storey house, with a gallery in front, which
commands a view of the lake and the bay: in the cellar a never failing
spring of fine water; and a stream of fine water running through one
corner of the lot; there is a good kitchen in the rear of the house, and
a stable sufficient for two cows and two horses, and the lot is in good
fence.

"The conditions are, with the person or persons who accept of the above
present, that he, she or they purchase not less than two thousand
apple-trees at three shillings, New York currency, each; after which
will be added, as a further present, about one hundred apple, thirty
peach, and fourteen cherry trees, besides wild plums, wild cherries,
English gooseberries, white and red currants, &c. There are forty of the
above apple trees, as also the peach and cherry trees, planted regular,
as an orchard, much of which appeared in blossom last spring, and must
be considered very valuable: also as a kitchen garden, will sufficiently
recommend itself to those who may please to view it. - The above are well
calculated for a professional or independent gentleman; being somewhat
retired - about half-way from the Lake to the late Attorney General's and
opposite the town-farm of the Hon. D. W. Smith [afterwards Mr. Allan's
property.] Payment will be made easy; a good deed; and possession given
at any time from the first of November to the first of May next. For
further particulars enquire of the subscriber on the premises. William
Bond. York, Sep. 4, 1801." - The price expected was, as will be made out,
750 dollars. The property was evidently the northern portion of what
became afterwards the homestead-plot of Mr. Surveyor General Ridout.

It would appear that Mr. Bond's property did not find a purchaser on
this occasion. In 1804 he is advertising it again, but now to be sold by
auction, with his right and title to the lot on Yonge Street. In the
_Gazette_ of August 4, 1804, we read as follows: - "To be sold by
auction, at Cooper's tavern, in York, on Monday, the twentieth day of
August next, at eleven o'clock in the forenoon (if not previously
disposed of by private contract), that highly cultivated lot opposite
the Printing Office [Bennett's] containing one acre, together with a
nursery thereon of about ten thousand apple, three hundred peach, and
twenty pear trees, and an orchard containing forty-one apple trees fit
for bearing, twenty-seven of which are full of fruit; thirty peach and
nine cherry trees full of fruit; besides black and red plums, red and
white currants, English gooseberries, lilacs, rose bushes, &c., &c.,
also a very rich kitchen garden.

"The buildings are a two-and-a-half storey house, a good cellar, stable
and smokehouse. On the lot is a never-failing spring of excellent water,
and fine creek running through one corner most part of the year. The
above premises might be made very commodious for a gentleman at a small
expense; or for a tanner, brewer, or distiller, must be allowed the most
convenient place in York. A view of the premises (by any person or
persons desirous of purchasing the same) will be sufficient
recommendation. The nursery is in such a state of forwardness that if
sold in from two to three years (at which time the apple trees will be
fit to transplant) at the moderate price of one shilling each, would
repay a sum double of that asked for the whole, and leave a further gain
to the purchasers of the lot, buildings, and flourishing orchard
thereon. A good title to the above, and possession given at any time
after the first of October next.

"Also at the same time and place the right as per Register, to one
hundred acres in front of lot 62, east side Yonge Street, for which a
deed can be procured at pleasure, and the remainder of the lot procured
for a small sum. It is an excellent soil for orchard, grain and pasture
land. There is a field of ten acres in fence besides other clearing. It
is a beautiful situation, having part of the Lake commonly called Bond's
Lake, within the said lot, which affords a great supply of Fish and
Fowl. Terms of payment will be made known on the day of sale. For
further particulars enquire of the subscriber on the former premises, or
the printer hereof. William Bond. York, 27th June, 1804."

Thirty years later we meet with an advertisement in which the price is
named at which Lot No. 63 could have been secured. Improvements expected